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Court Blocks ICE, NARA From Destroying Records

March 16, 2021 (1 min read)

Amy Lieu, American Independent, Mar. 15, 2021

"A federal judge ruled on Friday that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the National Archives and Records Administration must preserve sexual assault and death files on detained immigrants. Three watchdog groups — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the American Historical Association, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations — brought the lawsuit against the federal agencies in March 2020, arguing that the records have "significant research value." Judge Amit P. Mehta ruled in favor of the groups, writing in a 21-page memorandum that the files must be preserved under the Federal Records Act. The ruling prevents the destruction of documents on the reporting and investigation of sexual abuse or assault allegations between detained immigrants, or between ICE employees, contractors, or volunteers and detained immigrants. The files include police reports, medical exam summaries, "supporting memos and video," any evidentiary materials related to the allegation, and related outcomes, according to the court memo. ... Noah Bookbinder, president of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, said in a statement that the ruling was a win for transparency. "There have been too many abuses documented in our immigration detention system, but the country cannot fix these problems without knowing what has happened," he said."